The Spider-Man franchise, more than most any other superhero series, has a decent amount of “what could have been” projects. Andrew Garfield was promised two sequels to his The Amazing Spider-Man 2, but they never materialized. Writer-director Drew Goddard workshopped a Sinister Six movie that didn’t get off the ground. And on this day 10 years ago, Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 4 was originally intended to hit theaters… only, it never did, and Spider-Man fans remain pretty bummed about it.
Raimi of course had helmed the first three movies in the Spider-Man saga with Toney Maguire in the role, and his third one was a disappointment. Fans really wanted him to be able to close that chapter of his career on a high note. As you well know, Spider-Man 4 never happened. Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire walked away from the project, even though Spider-Man 3 was the highest-grossing film in Raimi’s tenure. The studio chose to reboot, and that release date came and went. But 10 years later, fans are still griping about the movie they never got to see:
Ah, that classic meme. There’s no telling if Sam Raimi’s fourth Spider-Man would have led to a utopia on Earth. How many part fours in ANY series claim to be the best? But Raimi fans are loyal to the director and his vision, with many still wanting to see this fourth movie happen somehow:
Concept art that can be found online suggest that Sam Raimi wanted The Vulture to be the main villain in his fourth Spider-Man, and there were rumors that either Ben Kingsley or John Malkovich were being considered to play the aging criminal. Coincidentally, Michael Keaton would play the Vulture in the first Spider-Man movie that Marvel got to make in partnership with Sony. But he wouldn’t have been the only featured antagonist, as Anne Hathaway was rumored to play Black Cat, and Bruce Campbell would have had a walk-on role as Mysterio:
It’s fun to imagine what might have happened in a sequel that didn’t get off the ground. Could it have been the happy ending that Sam Raimi deserved? He definitely preferred the classic Spider-Man villains, and regretted including Venom in Spider-Man 3 at the urging of producer Avi Arad. But after several years of making back to back Spider-Man movies, there’s no telling that Raimi and Maguire would have been able to capture the same magic that powered the first two chapters of that early series.
Celebrate this sad anniversary tonight by watching one of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies. Just, not the third one.
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.